My salty old Latin teacher, Miss Butler, would surely have been able raspily to proclaim that the infinitive jubilaré means “to shout for joy,” and that our noun jubilee is derived from jubilaré which actually dates back to the Hebrew word for a ram’s horn trumpet.
Unfortunately for one uninterested young bloke (me), there was not much shouting for joy in her Parramatta High School classroom. However, this month I am thankful for Sally Butler who hammered endless conjugations into us because I know that the first person singular, present tense, active voice for that verb is jubilo, meaning “I shout for joy.”
And I am presently doing a little shouting for joy here and there because the faithfulness of God has made September 2013 to be a Golden (50-year) Jubilee month in my earthly life.
My widowed mum and my sister later emigrated to Canada, but the last time I ever saw my dad, Carl Nicolson, on earth was that 50-years-ago morning when he climbed up onto some pilings at the outer end of the pier and stood alone waving to me until distance and mutual tears put us out of sight from each other. Yes, on that trans-Pacific voyage on the SS Oriana I was leaving everything and everybody I knew for places and people unknown.
Scroll forward five decades… Wednesday night of this week took Karen and me to one of our regular assignments, a 180-mile (290 kilometer) round trip to Denton, Montana where Denton, Coffee Creek, and Hobson teens meet for youth group. We had not seen most of the young people and sponsors since June at C – N Camp. What a hug fest when several precious kids came running over to us with open arms as we entered the church basement! After supper we enjoyed shout-for-joy worship and lesson time during which I taught from Mark 4:1-20 and concluded by challenging us all to be “Mark 4, verse 20 people.” We then closed the meeting by prayerfully singing together:
“Jesus, Jesus, Lord to me—Master, Savior, Prince of Peace; Ruler of my heart today—Jesus, Lord to me.” 1
As I accompanied the singing with my guitar, I could look at all the youth and sponsors’ beautiful faces, voices of praise and commitment belonging to a second and third generation of people to and with whom we have been privileged to minister. I can still see and hear that Wednesday night song in a little Montana town, and my heart is filled with praise to God for this Jubilee month of memories, reflection, and hope for the immediate and eternal future.
“My Jesus, my Savior, Lord there is none like You,
All of my days, I want to praise the wonders of Your mighty love.
My Comfort, my Shelter, Tower of refuge and strength.
Let every breath, all that I am, never cease to worship You.
Shout to the Lord all the Earth let us sing,
Power and majesty, praise to the King.
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar,
At the sound of Your Name.
I sing for joy at the work of Your hands.
Forever I’ll love You, forever I’ll stand.
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.” 2